Regular readers will by now be well aware that the nature of formal dressing is changing; dress codes and conventions are softening, and the modern dresser is embracing an ever more relaxed, understated approach to his formalwear – brash colour and bold patterns are out, in favour of a restrained return to the classics – and to sophisticated use of texture and tone.
If there is one heritage brand that truly understands this, it’s contemporary British haberdasher Drake’s, a clothier that has arguably pioneered this softening of formal dress since its inception in the early 70s. Originally a scarf and tie maker, Drakes has (under the leadership of its current Creative Director Michael Hill, successor to the eponymous Michael Drake) embraced the role of unparalleled British outfitters – curating ranges of beautifully handmade and quirkily designed modern staples, from shirting to tailored jackets, workwear and specialist denim pieces.
Even so, the art of the handmade necktie remains central to what the house does, and we’re pleased to report that our latest collection of SS16 Drakes for The Rake Archive Silk Neckties is a case in point. For this collection, we worked with Drake’s to create a range of ties that we felt captured this shift in formal dress codes, ties that lent themselves to a richly textural, understated aesthetic, with a versatile, matte quality to them. There’s not a shouty silk foulard in sight, rather we’re played with the deep, slubby textures tones of shantung, linen and raw silk, to produce a range of seasonal, summery ties that are rakish in character and yet refreshingly easy to wear.
Deep greens and blues feature heavily; there are signature Drake’s shantung herringbones in navy, royal blue, olive and dark bottle green, and caramel. Additionally, there’s a fun navy and forest green bordered shantung boating stripe tie, and a subtle navy, cream and rust floral foulard for something a little more graphic. A particular favourite is the lightweight Loro Piana butter-soft wool and cashmere blue-on-blue glencheck, but there are also a couple of fun silk checks in the collection. A royal blue and silver silk jacquard Prince-of-Wales check, and The Rake’s homage to the infamous Edward VII both appear too, the latter in a fun olive, ecru, mid-blue and sunburst-yellow grenadine fancy check, which feels distinctly like something His Royal Highness would have enjoyed. All of the ties are finished with a conventional 8cm wide blade, handrolled tips and a keeper loop.